Jan. 3, 2013 — New research from North Carolina State University, Brigham Young University and the Pennsylvania State University finds that parental involvement is more important than the school environment when it comes to preventing or limiting alcohol and marijuana use by children.
“Parents play an important role in shaping the decisions their children make when it comes to alcohol and marijuana,” says Dr. Toby Parcel, a professor of sociology at NC State and co-author of a paper on the work. “To be clear, school programs that address alcohol and marijuana use are definitely valuable, but the bonds parents form with their children are more important. Ideally, we can have both.”
The researchers evaluated data from a nationally representative study that collected information from more than 10,000 students, as well as their parents, teachers and school administrators.
Specifically, the researchers looked at how “family social capital” and “school social capital” affected the likelihood and/or frequency of marijuana use and alcohol use by children. Family social capital can essentially be described as the bonds between parents and children, such as trust, open lines of communication and active engagement in a child’s life. School social capital captures a school’s ability to serve as a positive environment for learning, including measures such as student involvement in extracurricular activities, teacher morale and the ability of teachers to address the needs of individual students.
The researchers evaluated marijuana use and alcohol use separately. In both cases, researchers found that students with high levels of family social capital and low levels of school social capital were less likely to have used marijuana or alcohol — or to have used those substances less frequently — than students with high levels of school social capital but low family social capital.
Positive Parenting Prevents Drug Abuse
Could your kids be at risk for substance abuse?
Families strive to find the best ways to raise their children to live happy, healthy and productive lives. Parents are often concerned about whether their children will start or are already using drugs such as tobacco, alcohol, marijuana, and others, including the abuse of prescription drugs. Research supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has shown the important role that parents play in preventing their children from starting to use drugs.
These five questions, developed by the Child and Family Center at the University of Oregon, highlight parenting skills that are important in preventing the initiation and progression of drug use among youth. For each question, a video clip shows positive and negative examples of the skill and additional videos and information are provided to help you practice positive parenting skills.
- Are you able to communicate calmly and clearly with your teenager regarding relationship problems?
- Do you encourage positive behaviors in your teenager on a daily basis?
- Are you able to negotiate emotional conflicts with your teenager and work toward a solution?
- Are you able to calmly set limits when your teenager is defiant or disrespectful? Are you able to set limits on more serious problem behavior such as drug use, if or when it occurs?
- Do you monitor your teenager to assure that s/he does not spend too much unsupervised time with peers?
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- Dishion,T.J.; Nelson, N.E.; Kavanagh, K. The Family Check-Up with high-risk young adolescents: Preventing early-onset substance use by parent monitoring. Behavior Therapy 34: 553-571, 2003.
- Dishion,T.J.; Kavanagh, K.; Schneiger, A.; Nelson, S.; Kaufman, N.K. Preventing early adolescent substance use: A family-centered strategy for the public middle school. Prevention Science 3 (3): 191-201, 2002.